What Happens if Someone Leaves the Scene of a Car Accident?
At Warnett Hallen LLP, we know how upsetting a car accident in Vancouver can be. This stress is only made worse when the at-fault party flees the scene of the crash. Fortunately, you have options for compensation if you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run accident in British Columbia.
The province’s mandatory insurer, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), provides coverage to policyholders who’ve been hit by a hit-and-run driver. But obtaining compensation after these types of collisions can get complicated if the at-fault driver can’t be found. You don’t have to go through the claims process alone. An experienced Vancouver hit-and-run accident lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP can help you fight for a full and fair settlement.
We’re standing by to help. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
What is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver hits someone else and leaves the scene of the crash without providing any contact information.
Examples of hit-and-run accidents include when:
- A driver strikes your car while you’re driving.
- Someone hits your parked vehicle when you’re not around and purposely leaves without providing their contact information.
- You’re hit by a driver as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
You have the right to damages if you were harmed in a hit-and-run accident. Notifying ICBC of the crash promptly is important, but it’s smart to talk to a knowledgeable hit-and-run lawyer first to avoid saying something that could jeopardize your claim.
Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident the Same as a Hit and Run in Vancouver?
In British Columbia, drivers are required to stop at the scene of an accident. Stopping allows motorists to exchange information with others involved, check to see that everyone is OK, and get medical help for anyone who’s been injured. However, failing to stop at the scene of an accident does not automatically mean someone is guilty of a hit and run. As long as drivers have provided a way of contacting them before leaving the scene, the crash does not qualify as a hit and run.
How Does ICBC Handle Hit-and-Run Accidents?
When a driver departs from the scene of an accident without leaving his/her information, ICBC provides coverage of up to $200,000 for any crash resulting in injury, death, or property damage. In the event that multiple people make claims for the same hit-and-run accident, the $200,000 in coverage is divided among them.
Policyholders can also seek medical coverage through ICBC when they do not have access to other types of benefits. Coverage may include expenses such as:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Disability payments
- Death benefits and funeral expenses
- Vehicle repairs
Hit-and-Run Laws in Vancouver
Drivers can face civil and criminal penalties for a hit and run. At Warnett Hallen LLP, our lawyers handle civil cases. These claims involve obtaining compensation for the injuries and other damages suffered in a hit-and-run wreck. Section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act allows accident victims who are hit by an unidentified driver to initiate a claim for damages through ICBC.
If the offending driver is found, a separate criminal claim for your hit-and-run accident may be prosecuted by crown counsel from the Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General. Warnett Hallen LLP will not be involved with that case, but will certainly monitor its progress and results.
What Do I Do if Someone Flees the Scene of an Accident?
If someone has left the scene of an accident in Vancouver, there are steps you can take to protect any future ICBC or legal claim. These include:
- Try to obtain the license plate number and the description of the vehicle leaving the scene.
- Call law enforcement to report the accident and request medical help for any injuries.
- Gather contact information from any witnesses.
- Create a detailed account of the accident and how it happened, including the location, date, and time of the crash, as well as the direction you were traveling.
- Take photos of your vehicle, injuries, and any other environmental evidence that could be relevant in the case (e.g., skid marks, shattered glass, stop signs, etc.)
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you don’t believe you are injured.
- Contact a proven Vancouver hit-and-run lawyer to investigate the accident and assist you with the ICBC claims process.
What are My Options After a Hit and Run in Vancouver?
After a hit-and-run accident, you must file a claim with ICBC to seek compensation for your injuries. You have three options when submitting an ICBC claim, which include:
- Part VII benefits: Part VII benefits are ICBC’s no-fault benefits. With this coverage, accident victims can receive compensation for medical costs, wage replacement, and household support benefits, regardless of who is to blame. Part VII will also provide coverage for death benefits and funeral expenses in the event that the accident is fatal.
- Tort claims: Motorists can file an ICBC tort claim as long as they are not entirely at fault for the crash. Tort claims can provide coverage for medical expenses and lost income, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. You can file a tort claim even if you partly contributed to the accident.
- Property damage: If you were not at fault for the accident or purchased collision insurance through ICBC, you can also file a claim to receive coverage for property damage to your vehicle.
It is important to speak to a lawyer who can help determine which type of claim is appropriate for your case. ICBC has strict requirements that must be met in order to file a hit-and-run claim. You don’t want to miss out on compensation due to a small, innocent error.
Types of Hit-and-Run Injuries
Like any car accident, hit-and-run collisions can result in serious injuries. These include but are not limited to:
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones or fractures
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis
- Chest and torso trauma
- Facial injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
How Can a Vancouver Hit-and-Run Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Even though ICBC provides coverage to people who are injured by hit-and-run drivers, you still must comply with the requirements of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act in order to receive compensation. That includes making all reasonable efforts to locate the unidentified driver. A hit-and-run lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP can:
- Post ads in the area where the accident occurred, on social media, or in publications in an attempt to identify the driver and any witnesses
- Interview residents, business owners and employees in the area where the crash occurred for potential leads
- Help you file the claim with ICBC
- Provide evidence to support your hit-and-run claim
- Determine what your case is worth
- Negotiate aggressively for you to get maximum compensation for your injuries
Although ICBC may be your insurer, don’t make the mistake of thinking that their adjusters are operating in your best interests. Insurance companies want to protect their profits, and they do that by offering low settlement offers to unsuspecting claimants. A lawyer can help ensure that you are not taken advantage of.
In British Columbia, you have six months from the date of a hit-and-run crash to notify ICBC of the accident. However, it’s best to get your claim underway as soon as possible. Efforts to locate the driver and potential witnesses can take time.
Call a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in Vancouver Today
Don’t take on ICBC alone if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident in Vancouver. Let an attorney from Warnett Hallen LLP fight for the money you deserve. Call or contact us online to schedule your free consultation right away.